"Fast enough" depends on the market, and on timing. For decades, a typewriter was "fast enough". Today, it's hard to find a typewriter. Twenty years ago, as PCs were blossoming in the workplace, they were provided to the spreadsheet jocks, the executives, and the content creators. Now, everyone needs to be computer literate.
But there's been stagnation at the desktop. We used to see corporations doing wave after wave of hardware refreshes as PCs made leaps in performance -- Pentium to PII to PIII to P4. But that's seriously slowed, and desktops are living longer and longer; for the average worker, even a single-core P4 or its AMD equivalent is "fast enough". A new desktop unit doesn't necessarily increase productivity, and we haven't seen the "killer app" for the PC that simply requires a widespread refresh. Corporate data gets stored on servers, now, not at the desktop level.
The big innovations don't appear to be in desktops. I see the engineers and techheads discussing laptops, netbooks and phones, not desktops. One of our engineers, who's certified on servers and storage and a bazillion kinds of computer big-iron, has a jailbroken iPhone that he says is capable of everything his Solaris server did, but it lives on his belt, not in the office. He carries a small laptop, and doesn't have a desktop at the office. He has a server in his house, and his wife and son have laptops with extra screens, but they have no desktops.
I see big innovation in phones, and I see phones taking the path that PCs took. Where I work, engineers & techheads are hungry for new smartphones, and began moving from Blackberry to iPhone soon after the iPhone's release. Now many are gazing at Android phones (though we have AT&T service). But the rest of the world just wants to be able to call home; a reliable phone is "fast enough", and a smartphone may be uncomfortably complex. For most folks, "fast enough" is what they have or vaguely wish for.
For those who are fascinated by technology, "fast enough" is always ahead of us; our expectations and desires rise faster than the hardware is released. Disruptive technologies start with geeks and spread to everyone else. Geeks had the first cellphones and the first smartphones, and we'll have the first superphones (or whatever we end up calling them). We push the envelope. We grapple with the problems, groping our way along the leading/bleeding edge, grunting our way to greater speed, greater capacity, greater utility.
But the rest of the world rarely sees the grunting. They think this stuff just happens, and they happily take advantage of it. For them, "fast enough" is what they have, and they adopt new stuff when the price has fallen to affordability.
As phones get more capable, I won't be surprised to see them eat the desktop market. We'll have all their capability in the phone, and use external devices to handle viewing, heavy keyboarding, and printing. Perhaps we'll use a dock at first, but we'll likely abandon wires for Bluetooth X or something like it.
I have a 3-year-old P4 dual-core desktop at home, and it's fast enough; I don't expect to ever buy another desktop. Heck, I have a dual-core Atom in the car, and I'll upgrade it first.
I'll spend my money on disruptive technology.
I'm a techhead too :)
Originally Posted by rdholtz
Ever heard of the term "nettop"? We just changed our P4 PCs to Intel Atom (check in my my thread)
because they are more efficient. They are smaller, but still desktops.
How old is this server? You can't compare a server's performance to a phone's
Originally Posted by rdholtz
(or to anything else's).
I doubt if an iPhone can serve 100+ users with mail, storage, database,
and other stuff. (If it can, I will throw out my servers)
I have a durable netbook for field work (it has a handle by default,
Originally Posted by rdholtz
comes handy when you are on a ladder), a notebook for general stuff,
and a desktop at home for gaming and as a htpc.
I like smartphones, but it's about fashion and gadget-addiction, not
Originally Posted by rdholtz
about real usefulness. If you give me a smartphone with capacitive
touchscreen, camera with HQ video recording, can survive a 5m fall and water,
I will buy another that, now my HTC ruins are enough :)
Back to the thread, I think we've got better phones for navigation then iPhone :)
I'd like to see your desktop survive that!
Originally Posted by simplex
You see, you're imposing desktop specs on a mobile device. They really aren't the same thing at all. And I disagree, pc's really are 'fast enough' for MOST common things.
Granted, we will need speed for stuff they come up with - HD video or 3D worlds, or whatever. But really, once you get beyond a flicker free millisecond response time, the average user simply doesn't notice it.
Again, the smart device is not a pc replacement but it does live way lower on the development curve than the pc and that gives it a lot more headroom for pretty much all of the qualities that you cite - speed, capacity, power, etc. They're already way more durable than a net book or a lap top and they're sure to get more durable. And cheaper, too. So if you lose it you can afford another.
But one thing I don't think we've touched on at all is the fact that most people already rely on cellphones. One thing that smart devices are going to do is gobble up cellphone user market share. As they get cheaper, why wouldn't you add the media capabilities to your phone? Sure, the data costs are higher now but that won't last.
You probably weren't around when the original cellphones came out and were used only by corporate business types. They cost hundreds of dollars a month and were bigger than bricks. I always thought I'd like to have one but that they would never get cheap enough or that coverage would be good enough to rely on. (And if you were around for that, then you need to rethink the current technological trajectory that smart phones are on).
Plain and simple, there's NO money in regular phones anymore. The market is saturated. The next wave is here and it is smart devices. After that wave finishes crashing, the costs will start to fall. When it recedes, the razr will look like a cute little Skittle compared to what's coming. "Wow Dad, you used to have one of those? Where's the browser?"
I don't expect to convince you, I can tell you have a firm opinion on it already. As do I. So, let's check back in 2 years, shall we?
It doesn't need to, as it's on my desk. My netbook survives it, as it's designed for kindergarten use :) And it's not even a brick. (1.5kg)
Originally Posted by Bugbyte
I could use a smartphone's functionality, if it would survive my working/partying conditions.
And that's the point. I think they should upgrade the phones' durability first, and then add more features to it.
But it against the marketing policy to make something that LASTS.
I did not imposed desktop specs, he did it: "iPhone that he says is capable of everything his Solaris server did".
Originally Posted by Bugbyte
I'm saying I need a phone+camera solution.
PC's are fast enough for office use, but gaming and 3D will always need the bleeding-edge.
Well after reading all this it is clear that people have different requirements. I read in one of the posts that there will be a market for both the "Good Enough" market and the high end consumers. I totally agree with that comment. That is why few drive Ferraris but most drive (insert mass consumer car here, I'll pick Toyota). Not just the cost aspect but their going after something unique that the Good Enough product doesn't offer. In the case I added in my original post, I have a camper that I wanted to extend my Car PC to. I really want to have a UPnP style system in the camper. I figured a Car PC would cover the whole Nav and music issue during normal use but extend itself into a full blown entertainment hub while we are camping. It's the full blown entertainment hub piece that makes it unique.
So the question is "Will an iPhone/Smartphone replace a Car PC?". My answer is sometimes.
Interesting article by TomTom's Senior V.P. of Market Development on why smartphones won't kill TomTom's. It's here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/tomtom...business/35339
I mean, I don't want to cast aspersions or anything, but I think the guy must have been high when they interviewed him. Here's his list of reasons why TomTom will keep selling PND's and my comments on them:
"With GPS-enabled smartphones, how are stand-alone GPS devices still viable?
This is a question I’ve heard a lot over the last couple months with the advent of Nokia’s approach to navigation. There’s been no market impact on the demand for stand-alone GPS devices. We have sold 40 million devices worldwide. Dedicated portable navigation devices—PNDs—offer a number of advantages:
1. Screens: In the PND business, over 80 percent of the devices sold today have 4.3-inch touch screens or bigger. When navigating in the car, the consumer has voted for a larger screen size, versus a 3.5-inch smartphone screen. This allows them to see more of the map and directions on the screen.
Hmm. Interesting. Although a smartphone screen is smaller, I've used mine to easily navigate using Destinator and I'm sure TomTom works equally well. In fact, it only has to work good ENOUGH. Which it does. But, okay, agreed. A larger screen is better. But...uh....not good enough to make me want to carry two devices around.
2. Audio: Despite the importance of screen size, ideally , we want people to be looking out their window when they are driving. So the quality of the audio allows them to listen to clear, loud, spoken instruction. The audio you’re getting from smartphones is a little less loud and tinnier.
It's true. I can't hear my iPhone speakers when I'm driving but I can crank up my TomTom until it is quite loud. Of course, since I listen to music on my iPhone, I can also listen to the Destinator instructions on it as well. Over the stereo. And it will autofade the music volume, then return it to normal after speaking. No advantage for a PND here.
3. On-Board Maps: There is the question of whether the maps are on-board (built into the storage of the device) or off-board (downloaded as you’re navigating). A lot of the smartphones are off-board, downloading in real time, which means you’re subject to a dropped call or roaming charges. For us, it all resides in storage in the device, so even if there’s no cell service, you will have your maps.
I guess this guy has never heard of Moore's law. The maps are only so big. Destinator eats 2gigs and I'm sure TomTom is similar. Actually, I know it is because the TomTom XL1 that I own has 2gigs of memory on it. With 8gig flash drives so cheap they can pretty much afford to give them away in Happy Meals, this memory/storage "problem" isn't.
Not to mention that I've done extensive navigation with network based nav programs and as long as you have hte route up front, even if you don't have the map because of network speeds, the route and driving instructions are still there. A kludge, for sure but it still works. Advantage: TomTom PND. Unless of course, you own TomTom iPhone.
4. Battery: I use my iPhone to navigate, and turn-by-turn navigation tends to exhaust the battery compared to making phone calls or writing emails. The stand-alone battery lasts three to five hours.
Nothing says 'maximum battery drain' like a good 3D rendering and GPS usage. Of course, my TomTom PND only lasts a couple hours in the car without power. That's why I plug it into the power supply in my car. JUST LIKE MY IPHONE. Advantage: Nobody.
5. Mounting: You need a place to mount the phone—it’s not a small issue. One of the principle advantages of a dedicated device is that they all have mounts to attach to your window or dashboard. If you don’t have a similar mount, you need to buy one, or you risk using it in a manner that’s less than ideal.
Okay, wait a second. PND's won't get killed by smart phones because they come with a mount? Are you serious? I guess purchasing an aftermarket mount is waaaay too inconvenient and costly for me. Especially with all those hands-free laws that encourage it. Advantage: No one. This is a stupid reason that has nothing to do with the issue.
6. Sharability: Most consumers recognize that a portable device is sharable in their household. They tend to use a phone’s navigation as a backup. Or they’ll use it for pedestrian application: They use the PND to get a neighborhood and use their phone to walk to the restaurant.
That's only because they already OWN a PND. When it craps out, they just keep their phone. And since a lot of people have their own personal phone, I'd think that they're walking around with their own personal nav units, too.
Which reminds me - didn't he say demand wasn't slowing because they'd sold 40 million PND's? You mean this year? Or for all time? I hate to say it, but your glory days are BEHIND you.
Okay, a couple of really surprising things he didn't say. First, a PND costs less than a smart phone because you don't need a subscription for it. Why he didn't mention that, I have no idea.
But it doesn't matter anyhow, because the number of smart phones is growing while I'm virtually certain that PND sales are either leveling off or already on the decline.
The other thing he didn't mention was the traffic info. Maybe because he's thinking that if all the users share their data with TomTom, then TomTom gets low cost updates for its maps without having to buy them from Teleatlas or whoever. That's really great for TomTom but I didn't see where that translates into free updates for your TomTom maps.
Probably because it's free for anyone who has access to the web on their phone. This would have been a great idea 2 years ago and TomTom would be holding a valuable traffic network analysis tool if they'd thought of this earlier. But now, it's too late.
Smart phones will keep getting cheaper and with those pricey data plans that you need to support them, people keep loading more stuff ONTO the phones. One great way to help reduce the cost of a smart phone is to give up your land line. Another way is to use a free navigation service like Google's navigation app or another app, like...oh, I don't know...TomTom for iPhone for $49??!!!!
Will PND's die completely? Not for awhile. Old people need GPS, too and there's definitely something to be said for a dedicated GPS device. I like my TomTom One. It works great, has a really good interface and 'just works' when I need it to. But it isn't great ENOUGH that I'd buy it as a supplement to my iPhone. The nav on the iPhone works GOOD ENOUGH and they're making big strides to improve the apps on smart phones every day.
Good find. I can't think of a single person that owns an iPhone and has then gone out and purchased a PND. I do know several that already owned PNDs prior to getting their iPhone and, yes, they still use it religiously, but I highly doubt would fork over more cash for a new one.
There wasn't a single mention of how more and more cars were coming out with built in GPS solutions, either, which seems surprising as it's becoming less of an option and more standard as the model years advance. While many communities (particularly the tech community) will shy away from PNDs of their own volition due to smart phones, a much larger market segment (the non-tech population) will be forced away when the next car they buy has the solution built in.